In high school chemistry class, I learned that entropy is the order of the universe. This week, I overcame entropy long enough to order some parts and buy new tires for my antique 1987 4WD Nissan Sentra station wagon. These cars seem to be rare and some of the parts are hard to find. (A helpful man named Mike on the B12 owners forum claims there might be only about 30 running 4WD Sentras in the USA.)

At a Nissan dealer, I ordered left and right rear struts, bushings and boots. The struts are dealer-only items, alas. They're back-ordered. The friendly parts guy at Nissan said they might come in a week or a month. I wonder what's so special about these struts that nobody but Nissan makes them?

I'm happy that I can get front struts easily. I'll order some KYB GR-2s next week.

I also ordered a locking glove box knob. Mine self-destructed about a year ago. I've been keeping the box closed with a twist tie and a stick. New ones are $50! They probably come from Japan, hand-made by retired anime characters and flown to North America in first generation Gundam suits or something. I spent quite a bit of time phoning around to salvage yards around the country and found only two. I tried to buy one but the car it was in got crushed before the parts picker could get the knob for me. The other was at a yard that wanted close to $50 just to send someone out to retrieve the part. This is one of the joys of owning and old, unpopular car.

I bought Michelin Defender tires today for the front and left a deposit for a pair for the rear. I'll pick up the last two after I replace the rear struts. My local NTB shows five in the East Coast inventory, four there and one in Florida. If you're looking for 13-inch Michelin Defenders and can't find them, blame me. I bought 80-percent of the remaining stock.

Like my quest for the glove box lock, buying tires reminded me that parts are sometimes like cucumbers, not available even for ready money. The tires I bought tonight were my second choice. Going by the recommendation of Consumer Reports, I wanted Continental ProContact EcoPlus all-season tires. They are CR's number two tire. I wanted them because they have better wet braking, better snow traction, and a better ride than CR's number one tire, the Michelin Defender. They're also a little cheaper. Alas, they don't come in the 13-inch size. The good news is that the Defenders have a 90,000-mile warranty. They might be the last tire I'll have to buy for this car.